Kevin Spacey’s Brilliant Speech Urges TV Networks to Give Control to the Viewers
By Daniel Zeevi
This speech you are about to listen to by Kevin Spacey has set the media and tech industry on fire about how Netflix could blow up the traditional TV industry as we know it. Spacey, a double Oscar-winner, is challenging TV networks to give “control” back to their audiences or risk losing them!
See in places like the US, the traditional model used by cable and network television is to force content producers to create a pilot for their show. Spacey then points to his own “House of Cards” show which was a major success, yet he pitched to every major network, who all showed interest, but wouldn’t make the show without seeing a pilot first. And it’s not out of arrogance that Spacey didn’t want to audition for these networks with a pilot, but his team was looking to create a multi-layered story with complex characters that would reveal themselves over time, which doesn’t bode well to the pilot model of introducing all the characters and establishing cliff hangers within 45 minutes. Not to mention the expense.
It wasn’t till Spacey pitched the idea to Netflix, did he find a true believer. After Netflix did their own due dilligence running the data, they were able to determine people would be interested in the show, with no need to force the acclaimed Oscar winner to produce an initial pilot.
According to Spacey, there were 146 pilots made this year at a cost of somewhere between $300 to $400 million. However, only 56 of those pilots, or 38%, actually got accepted and made into a new series. That’s not a very cost effective models for creators to participate in. “That makes our House of Cards deal for two seasons look really cost effective,” Spacey said.
Kevin Spacey Urges TV Channels to Give Control to Viewers
“Clearly the success of the Netflix model — releasing the entire season of House Of Cards at once — has proved one thing: the audience wants control. They want freedom. If they want to binge — as they’ve been doing on House Of Cards — then we should let them binge.”
The actor also said this “demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn — give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it”.
He said: “If you watch a TV show on your iPad is it no longer a TV show? The device and length are irrelevant … The labels are useless … For kids growing up now there’s no difference watching Avatar on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV and watching Game Of Thrones on their computer. It’s all content. It’s all story.”
Spacey is predicting that in the next few decades, any differentiation between these platforms, will disappear. It’s all content, and we want it right now.
What do you think? Should television give control back to the viewers?